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Cops and Courts

Man charged in connection with Vermilion house explosion is arraigned

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    Kenneth Karnow stands next to Vermilion prosecutor Margaret O’Bryon on Thursday during his arraignment in Vermilion Municipal Court. Behind them are Jen Haslage, left, and Tracy Haslage, whose house was destroyed, and their attorney, Michael Duff.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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VERMILION — Jennifer and Tracy Haslage said it was difficult seeing Kenneth Karnow, the man charged in connection with the destruction of their home, in court Thursday for his arraignment.

Karnow, 56, pleaded not guilty before Judge W. Zack Dolyk and waived the preliminary hearing to be bound over to the Erie County grand jury. He faces charges of burglary, possession of criminal tools, both felonies, and the misdemeanors of leaving the scene of a crash and failure to control.

An Erie County sheriff’s deputy was called about 3:30 a.m. Jan. 31 for a crash at 15319 Darrow Road where a silver SUV hit a home. Karnow was traveling east on Darrow Road when he lost control, hitting the house, according to police. The impact broke a gas line in the home and led to an explosion within minutes of the crash. The home was heavily damaged by the blast and destroyed by the subsequent fire.

Authorities found Karnow hours later in the closet of a vacant home in Wakeman Township. Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said the home appeared to be forcibly entered and a crowbar was found near Karnow.

Jennifer Haslage addressed the court, lamenting about how everything in her home went up in flames in a matter of minutes.

“I don’t feel there’s been any remorse for what has been done,” she said.

Karnow did not address the court.

In an interview after the arraignment, the Haslages spoke about their troubles since the incident. After sifting through the remains of their home, they said, barely anything was intact. One of the only things to survive was a 25-year-old deep freezer they wanted to throw away.

Most of their time the past week has been spent trying to regain their paperwork and important documentation and cataloging everything that was lost for the insurance companies. Because the explosion and fire destroyed most of their belongings and paperwork, they can’t prove what they owned.

Jennifer Haslage said she didn’t expect to hear an apology from someone who would run from the home in the first place, but it was more important to the Haslages to face the man they believe is responsible for their home’s destruction.

“I guess I needed to see him to start feeling the pain, if that makes sense,” she said.

The Haslages said their insurance, plus Karnow’s insurance, will not come close to replacing everything they lost.

The couple estimated they won’t have a new home on the property for a year. Meanwhile, they still see Karnow’s home, which is on the same street as their property.

Jennifer Haslage said what affects her most is the disrespect the driver showed by running away after the incident.

“We were on the phone, we were trying to help him and he just left,” she said. “He made a decision to leave and run with no remorse about anyone else’s life.”

“(We’re) not going to get back what (we) had and (we’re) not going to get anything back from that gentleman that did this, nothing. That’s the way I see it,” Tracy Haslage said. “I wanted him to look me in the eye, but he wouldn’t. He was staring down at the ground with his tail between his legs.”

It’s unclear when Karnow will appear in court next.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.


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